Incidents at the MacRitchie Reservoir and the Merlion Statue Show Singapore Placing Its Future in the Hands of the Chinese Communist Party

On April 27th, 2005, a Singapore court rendered an unjust verdict against two Falun Gong practitioners who reside in Singapore. Ms. Ng Chye Huay and Ms. Chen Lu Jin were wrongfully accused and found guilty for "assembly without a permit" and "possession and distribution of VCD's without an MDA certificate." The only issues for which they could be held accountable were raising people's awareness of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) persecution of Falun Gong and showing the peacefulness of Falun Gong. They had simply practised Falun Gong's exercises at Singapore's Esplanade Park. The judge imposed a penalty on both practitioners in the form of a large fine that was not proportionate to the so-called crime. The defendants pleaded not guilty, as the verdict was unjust, and they filed an appeal. The judge set aside due process and sentenced them to serve at Changi Women's Prison, with the sentence starting at once, as the women refused to pay the fines. They each face a 24-week prison term.

Since the Minghui website (Chinese version of the Falun Gong website, Clearwisdom) began reporting on the Merlion Statue incident in Esplanade Park, Falun Gong practitioners worldwide have publicly expressed their deep concerns. People of morality and justice worldwide have urged the Singapore government to stop acting as an accomplice of the CCP in its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, and to acquit and release Ms. Ng and Ms. Chen immediately. An increasing number of appeals in the rescue of these two ladies have been taking place worldwide.

To serve the publics interest, and to determine Singapore's attitude towards Falun Gong from the inception of the persecution, I interviewed three overseas Chinese who previously resided in Singapore, Mr. Dong, Mr. Jiang and Ms. Li. During the interview, these three former residents of Singapore shared their personal experiences and knowledge of the Singapore government's discrimination, illegal restriction, and persecutory policies against Falun Gong practitioners. These actions violate Singapore's Constitution and international human rights regulations. Moreover, the way that the Singapore government staged the MacRitchie Reservoir incident and the Merlion Statue incident to justify its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners mirrors the persecution in China. Below is a synopsis of the interviews.

The Miscarriage of Justice on the Merlion Statue Incident Echo That of the MacRitchie Reservoir Incident

Mr. Dong recalled, "On March 30th, 2001, four years before the miscarriage of justice in the Merlion Statue incident, a Singapore court rendered an unjust verdict concerning the MacRitchie Reservoir incident. I was one of the participants in the incident."

"At the end of 2000, 107 Falun Gong practitioners were known to have died as result of the CCP's persecution. During the evening of December 31st, 2000, a group of Falun Gong practitioners organised a candlelight vigil at the MacRitchie Reservoir, as a memorial service for those 107 Falun Gong practitioners who had died in China. MacRitchie Reservoir is one of the major sightseeing points of Singapore. For the past several years, prior to the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong, groups of Singapore Falun Gong practitioners have on a number of occasions demonstrated Falun Gong's peaceful exercises during weekends or holidays in this park. The police had not even once asked us for a permit. We were free to do the exercises. Our activities were never called 'illegal assemblies.'"

"At around 6:00 p.m., about 60 Falun Gong practitioners with their children and babies arrived at MacRitchie Reservoir. They had come to attend this activity, as they had during the past few years. We arranged them to sit in small circles of ten people during the candlelight vigil memorial service in the sitting meditation position. Several practitioners at the memorial service had families or relatives illegally imprisoned in one of China's prisons, because of their belief in Falun Gong. For the memorial service, we had made two posters on a foam board, listing the names and photographs of the 107 deceased Falun Gong practitioners. The Chinese titles of the two posters were 'Candlelight Vigil' and 'Mourn the Fellow Practitioners.'"

The candlelight vigil at MacRitchie Reservoir on December 31st, 2000

The moment the memorial service began, a group of police vehicles arrived. They ordered us to stop the activity and leave immediately. They also tried to confiscate the two large posters on foam boards. We refused to give them the boards. We began to explain to the police that the posters contained merely the names and the photographs of the deceased Falun Gong practitioners and that this candlelight vigil was to mourn them. We chose this location because it is far from any residential area. Because the activity started at 6:00 p.m., when it was already dark, we would not disturb any tourists, as they had already left. Hence, having a candlelight vigil here did not inconvenience anyone.

The police would not listen to reason. They called for backup and a SWAT team. Three large police vans and many police sedans hurried to the location. We felt saddened and betrayed by the police department's belligerent response. We continued to explain our cause rationally to the police, and pleaded with them to reconsider. After about three hours of communication with the police, they still had not changed their mind. They confiscated the posters and arrested 15 Falun Gong practitioners. The 15 Falun Gong practitioners were charged in court by the police. Seven of them were sentenced with imprisonment for a month, and eight were each fined 1,000 Singapore Dollars (SGD). This was the first time that the Singapore government persecuted Falun Gong practitioners, echoing the CCP's persecution, after the CCP began openly persecuting Falun Gong on July 20th, 1999.

The arrest of Falun Gong practitioners attending the candlelight vigil at the MacRitchie Reservoir. The photo on the right was published in a local newspaper.

The CCP media, including Xinhua News and China Central TV, immediately had a field day with the wrongful arrests at the MacRitchie Reservoir and the court's subsequent ruling. China's media used it as 'evidence' that the entire world banned Falun Gong. China's forced labour camps and prisons had their wardens read the news and promote the news among the incarcerated Falun Gong practitioners. They intended to give the Falun Gong practitioners a false impression that countries worldwide were banning Falun Gong. To this day you can still find the Xinhua News report of the MacRitchie Reservoir incident at the Chinese Embassy in Singapore. Obviously, Singapore's government supplied a powerful weapon to the CCP's arsenal of lies and deceit to justify its persecution of Falun Gong.

Four years after the unjust accusations of the MacRitchie Reservoir incident, the Singapore government launched another attack on Falun Gong practitioners who were clarifying the truth about Falun Gong at Esplanade Park. It is a repetition of the injustice inflicted upon the Falun Gong practitioners involved in the MacRitchie Reservoir incident. Apparently the Singapore government had no second thoughts in becoming an accomplice to the CCP in its persecution of Falun Gong. It is willing to fore go its reputation in order to bow to the Chinese Communist regime, a regime that has been condemned globally for its persecution of Falun Gong.

Singapore's Attitude towards Falun Gong Changes After the Persecution of Falun Gong Begins in China, Reflecting the CCP's Demonic Influence on Singapore

According to Mr. Jiang, the unjust rulings of the MacRitchie Reservoir incident in March 2001 and the Merlion Statue incident in Esplanade Park in April 2005 were made to bow to the CCP, after the CCP began to openly persecute Falun Gong in 1999.

The MacRitchie Reservoir is a popular location for activities by Singapore's local organisations. Hundreds of people often assemble at the MacRitchie Reservoir for various types of public activities. Also, many qigong organisations in Singapore also hold activities at MacRitchie Reservoir. Prior to 1999, Falun Gong practitioners in Singapore often practised Falun Gong's exercises as a group during weekends and holidays in this location. We never had to apply for a permit, and the police had not asked us for any permit.

We have been practising the Falun Gong exercises and clarifying the truth about Falun Gong at Esplanade Park every day for the past five years. We have braved all types of weather, and have never stopped our cause for a day. Ms. Ng Chye Huay and Ms. Chen Lujin, the wrongfully accused Falun Gong practitioners, are both housewives. They often take their children with them to Esplanade Park to practise the Falun Gong exercises. They have never been asked for a permit until February 23rd, 2003, when the police ran them off the premises, confiscated their Falun Gong materials, and recorded their ID card numbers. The police gave five Falun Gong practitioners harsh warnings, and accused Ms. Ng and Ms. Chen of "assembly without a permit" and "possession and distribution of VCD's without an MDA certificate."

The Falun Dafa Association in Singapore has been registered with the Singapore government as a legal organisation since as early as 1996. Prior to July 1999, we were not required to apply for a permit for any public activities. Falun Gong practitioners had the freedom to practise and promote Falun Gong to the public. We were free to hang banners in public with such messages as "Learn Falun Gong for Free" or to distribute free leaflets promoting Falun Gong. Several hundred Falun Gong practitioners had repeatedly practised Falun Gong exercises publicly in Singapore in the past without needing a permit. We enjoyed such freedom until July 1999.

The environment in Singapore took an abrupt downturn after July 20th, 1999. The Singapore government started to restrict Falun Gong practitioners' freedoms, discriminate against Falun Gong practitioners, and interfere or even ban our activities. The Singapore authorities arbitrarily searched practitioners, denied our permit applications for public activities, rejected and/or delayed practitioners' applications for permanent residency or citizenship, terminated practitioners' use of public facilities, unlawfully investigated practitioners, handed down unjust rulings, and began to hold a completely biased view of Falun Gong.

According to Ms. Li, one of the fifteen defendants in the MacRitchie Reservoir incident, the CCP sent its people to attend the court proceedings. She said, "The court wrongfully accused and imprisoned me for a month. Following the trial, the Singapore Immigration terminated my permanent residency. Moreover, the local Chinese media, which is controlled by the CCP, distorted the facts in their reports and smeared the good reputation of Falun Gong practitioners. They had a field day with the court's unjust ruling and negatively influenced the local Singapore residents' view of Falun Gong. The CCP's media in China published these malicious reports and used them to deceive the people in China. China's regime used these incidents to justify their persecution against Falun Gong and to intensify the pressure on Falun Gong practitioners in China's prisons."

Singapore Falun Gong practitioners have unwaveringly lived by Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. They could not have been responsible for the Singapore's government change of attitude towards Falun Gong. The root cause is the CCP's belligerent attitude towards Falun Gong. China's Embassy in Singapore also holds great responsibility in the persecution against the Falun Gong practitioners in Singapore. They have launched hate propaganda against Falun Gong, manipulated the local media into starting a smear campaign, put political pressure on the Singapore government through diplomatic means, rejected Chinese Falun Gong practitioners' passport renewal applications, spied on the practitioners in Singapore, interfered with the practitioners' local activities, harassed the practitioners' personal businesses, and illegally collected the practitioners' personal information to compile a list of Falun Gong practitioners.

Police Abuse Power and Use Law as a Persecution Tool

When discussing the Singapore courts verdict of innocent Falun Gong practitioners, Mr. Dong and Mr. Jiang gave their opinions saying, "The Singapore court is above the law, and uses and abuses power above the law to degrade the sanctity of law."

Mr. Dong said, "People know that the laws in Singapore are strict and thorough, and the government uses the law to regulate and control people's behaviour." Many expatriates working and studying in Singapore agree. On the other hand, the Singapore judicial system grants the police system absolute power. The police have great freedom imposing their will in cases involving issues that concern the so-called social stability. For example, they can grant or refuse a permit at will for an activity without explanation.

Falun Gong practitioners are revealing the facts of the persecution all over the world, and people know that practitioners follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Their various activities are peaceful and rational, and they don't pose any threat to the safety of the general public.

Mr. Jiang said, "Although there are numerous laws in Singapore, there is a unique phenomenon, which is that law administrators have great freedom in interpreting the laws. The law administrators use the law as a gun, and they decide whether to pull the trigger depending on the circumstance and the people they deal with. After the CCP started persecuting Falun Gong, the Singaporean government tightened its policy regarding Falun Gong and even did things to appease the CCP. The gun was pointed at innocent Falun Gong practitioners."

Distribution of factual materials about Falun Gong has always been legal, but the police recently charged the practitioners with "assembly without permit." The court decided it is illegal for the practitioners to mail VCD's entitled "Facts About the Tiananmen Self-immolation," which are not for commercial interest, and are not harmful or violent. The content of the VCD's can be downloaded freely online, so copyright issues are not involved. Yet the Singapore government decided it was illegal for Falun Gong practitioners to clarify the truth and expose the persecution. Other than the CCP in China, what other country in the world would convict the practitioners for speaking the truth and opposing the persecution?

Mr. Dong quoted an article entitled "Regarding the Participation in the Persecution of Falun Gong by the Singaporean Government" publicised by the World Organisation to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong. This article explains that the Singapore police allow the local media to publish articles attacking Falun Gong, and permit the Chinese government officials to distribute Falun Gong-slandering materials and VCDs to members of the Singapore Parliament and to NGOs without any permit and without any legal consequences to the senders. The Singapore police issued a permit for an exhibit held by the Chinese consulate that contains fabrications that viciously slander Falun Gong. Falun Gong is a registered group and peaceful spiritual movement, yet the victims are not allowed to speak the truth and defend their reputation, lest they face charges and even sentencing. Is this fair? What or whom is the Singaporean law protecting?

The People of Singapore Have the Right to Choose Their Own Future

Mr. Jiang said, "No matter for what reason the Singapore government decided to follow the CCP in persecuting Falun Gong, it is a wrong decision. Heaven will not tolerate persecution of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and such persecution is likewise not condoned according to principles of justice on earth. The CCP is now facing its end because it persecuted Falun Gong. Isn't it unwise for the Singapore government to hitch its waggon to the sinking CCP?"

Mr. Dong said, "During the past several years, the Singapore government has tightened its control over Falun Gong while maintaining a façade of normalcy on the surface. In the early stages of the persecution, the Chinese media in Singapore printed many slanderous articles from Mainland China that poisoned the minds of the Singapore people, many of whom did not know about Falun Gong at the time. As a result, they believed these lies and still don't realise that the Singapore government is persecuting Falun Gong practitioners to please the CCP. However, Singapore belongs to the people and not the people in power. The people of Singapore should decide the future of Singapore. We should make these facts about this wrongful verdict and incarceration known to the people of Singapore through voices around the world, and at the same time urge the Singapore government to overturn the verdict, restore the practitioners' human rights, and respect their noble belief."

In the end, Ms. Li said, "In 2001, I was falsely charged and thrown into a Singapore prison for one month. I asked to be allowed to bring a copy of the Falun Gong book Zhuan Falun into the prison, but my request was denied. They withheld the book my husband brought me and never gave it to me. They treat Falun Gong practitioners like the heavily sentenced criminals. They gave me a very dilapidated sleeping mat, and they gave me some leftover toothpaste. No one talked to me except when someone brought me food. I held a hunger strike for more than 20 days to resist the persecution, but during this period no one said a word, and no one asked me whether I was okay. Ms. Ng Chye Huay and Ms. Chen Lu Jin were also illegally incarcerated. However, they don't deserve these punishments because it's not wrong to clarify the truth about Falun Gong to people, and it's not wrong to expose the brutal persecution of Falun Gong by the CCP. But it is a true crime to lock up the innocent. If the Singapore people knew about all these violations of law by their government, they would never allow it to take place. The heavenly principle 'good will be rewarded and evil reaps its own evil applies to individuals, groups, and countries."

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